Brigid Kemmerer aka the author of the Elementals series that I LOVE agreed to talk to COBG about the series, slut shaming and what we should expect next from the Merrick brothers!
Brigid Kemmerer was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland. Brigid started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years. (Though sometimes that just makes her sound nuts.)
1. You are being sent off into space on a 10 year mission alone, you can only bring three books with you, what books do you choose and why?
Wow! Tough question. Ten years means they need to be epically re-readable. Hmm. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella, Don’t Let Me Go by J. H. Trumble, and Blood Alone by Elaine Bergstrom.
2. I read that the idea for the “Elemental” series came to you in High School! How did the idea come to you and what motivated you to write “Storm” years later?
I’m pretty sure the idea came to me because I was sixteen and boy-crazy, and the idea of four supernaturally gifted brothers was pretty appealing. I wrote several stories about those four brothers, and even though I’d branch out and write about other characters, I’d still come back to them. In the beginning, the Merricks were vampire brothers. By the third time I sat down to write about them, I knew I wanted to do something completely different, so I tried thinking of things that would go along with the number four. Four horsemen, four-leaf-clovers, whatever. I finally settled on the four classical elements of earth, air, fire, and water, and the rest is history…
3. Hunter is a very confused character. He has lied and betrayed the beloved Merrick brothers. What was the most difficult aspect of writing his character? Did you feel the need to justify his actions or redeem him in the eyes of your readers?
Hunter was really difficult to write. My normal writing process involves loud music and a cup of coffee by my side. Not for his book. For Hunter, I would sit in absolute silence and sketch scenes out longhand. Then I’d type them into a Word document and try to clean them up. He’s so conflicted about everything and everyone, and he’s never sure who to trust. I’m personally very open and trusting, so his character was a real stretch for me.
4. In my opinion, the characters in this series have an amazing support system, but spend their books feeling very much alone. Why do you think it is that these boys always feel so isolated? Is it their powers or is this a normal sort of teenage feeling of being misunderstood?
(Spoiler free if you have seen the trailers or know anything about Superman this post is safe to read)
I woke up this morning in a kind of panic. I think that I have outgrown Superman. As a kid Superman was larger than life. He was faster, stronger and funnier than the other heroes. He saved the world from villains we couldn’t even fathom in reality and had a great love story with the reporter Lois Lane. My history with Superman is not from comic books. I am a huge fan of the Joker, so I have read some Batman graphic novels and I own a copy of Watchmen like everyone else on the planet, but I could never claim to be a comic book fan girl. So, from movies and TV comes my Superman knowledge and he seemed larger than life. Just better.
Since Christopher Reeve hung up the cape, many things have happened. September 11, made us distrustful and a dark cloud appeared over our heads. We’ve engaged in a much different war than the ones that the likes of Superman and Captain America brought Americans hope. We started to see the world as gray. Superman is very much a world of black and white. Good is good and bad is bad. In a world where Batman and Iron Man have ruled the screen for almost a decade, I worried that Superman would be a little too good for our current perceptions. In my case, I was right.
First, I really really enjoyed this film. This post is not about whether the film is good or bad. It’s not a review. That being said, I liked the movie. I was emotional when Lara had to place her baby Kal in a ship and send him into the unknown space. I was angry when kids made fun of loner Clark and triumphant when the man became the legend and donned the red cape. Still, even as the child in me reawakened and I remembered how much I loved Superman, something felt wrong.
Superman is a god. Well, in my opinion, he is. Most comic book heroes are godlike, but he is the Zeus. For decades little boys have tucked tablecloths into the backs of their t-shirts and imagined they could fly. Men and women who have never picked up a comic book have t-shirts and accessories with the “S” emblazoned on it. Everyone knows that if it’s not a bird or a plane then it has to be Superman. Before comic book movies made a glorious return and we suddenly worshipped Tony Stark or even Peter Parker we knew the name Clark Kent. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve always known about Spider-Man, etc, but come on kids of the 90s, who was bigger than Superman? (There of course was the Superman vs. Batman debate, which is as legendary as Stones vs. Beatles)
The problem is that we’ve had many larger than life movies about aliens coming to earth. Everything from Transformers to the Avengers has good guys fighting invading aliens and destroying cities and towns all over the earth to do so. We watched as Tony Stark got his iron body to fly, as Thor regained the power of his mighty hammer and even as humans like John McClane somehow saved cities all by themselves. Heroes now come in all shapes and sizes and from different walks of life and they have all saved us from the impossible. Somehow Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” gets lost in the traffic of dozens of other action films.
Go to Starbucks. Order coffee for “Prisoner 24601”
When they call out your order, jump up and yell “My name is Jean Valjean!”
And if the barista replies with “AND I’M JAVERT,” you tip that motherfucker so hard